Photo by Jordan Arnold
Photo by Jordan Arnold

Important German table manners

by Emma Bareihs
Stripes Europe

Experiencing Germany wouldn’t be complete without trying the local foods. One thing to note about eating in Europe is the differences in table manners from most Americans. Although you don’t have to fully adapt to the traditional customs, it doesn’t hurt to try eating like a European. These top five tips can get you started in Germany.

1. When you ‘cheers’ around the table, look each person in the eye as you clink glasses.

2. In Germany, it is a rule of thumb to hold the fork in the left hand and knife in the right hand throughout the entire meal. As opposed to cutting everything into bite-sized pieces at once, you should cut one piece at a time.

3. Like most countries in Europe, water does not come automatically before the meal. Instead, you should ask for the water you would like when ordering your drinks (still or sparkling).

4. When you are finished with your meal, lay the utensils at an angle on the plate. The tips of the fork and knife should be in the center of the plate and the handles should lay on the bottom right of the plate.

5. Unless you are in a larger city, many German restaurants are cash only. Bring cash with you, unless you call ahead to check their payment services. At the end of the meal, an average tip in Germany is about 10 percent.

Adjusting to new table manners might be difficult at first, but with practice, it can become second nature. Try applying these table manners into your routine to impress the Germans with the opposite impression of the ‘lazy American.’

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